KY Firefighters!reduce risk!
Reducing the risk of wildfires
There are volunteers who are ready to reduce the risk of forest fires near homes close to woodlands.
Those volunteers are members of the Route 377, Hayes Crossing- Haldeman and Farmers Fire Departments, and homeowners must qualify to have to work done.
The three local departments received a grant for $16,000 from the Northeast Rowan County Firewise Council to reduce the fuel of wildland fires in areas previously identified as "high- risk."
"Each fire department will perform the actual work to do fuel reduction on federal, state or private land within a 200-foot radius of the homeowner," said Danny Blevins, firefighter with Route 377.
"The fuel we're looking to clear is low brush and leaf litter," he added. "Firefighters will do this on their own time and get reimbursed through the grant."
Firefighters worked at Sandy Knipp's house on a hilltop on Knipp Hollow off U.S. 60 east recently.
"One risk is like Sandy's place, where he is on a steep hill with a significant slope underneath the home," Danny said.
He added that the only commitment needed from the landowner is that they maintain the work done for five years and purchase reflective address markers for their mailboxes.
"The good thing is it allows us to identify high risk areas," Blevins said. "It makes it safer for homeowners and firemen alike."
The fire departments will target homes that lack defensible space,
provide Firewise signs to post and will continue educational efforts.
Grants are funded by the USDA Forest Service and distributed by the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Fire departments provide a 20 percent match, which comes from local fund raising efforts.
Blevins can be reached at 606-784-4333 for more information on how homeowners qualify for the program.
According to the Kentucky Division of Forestry:
• Rowan County has 131,015 acres of forestland, which is 73 percent of the total land area of the county. The Daniel Boone National Forest accounts for nearly 54,000 acres of forestland in Rowan.
• In the past six years, there have been 1,061 wildland fires in the division of forestry's Northeastern district, comprised of Clark, Bath, Boyd, Carter, Rowan, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas and Robertson counties.
These fires have burned 19, 598 acres on private land in the district. That is an area equivalent to a fire one-fourth mile wide on both sides of the road all the way from Morehead to Ashland along I-64.
• In the past six years there have been 72 wildland fires in Rowan County. There were 11 wildland fires in 2005.
• In the past six years there have been 1,631 acres of private forestland burned in Rowan County.
• The worst year for wildland fires in the last decade in Kentucky was 2001. There were 15 wildland fires that burned 415 acres in Rowan that year.
• Nearly 90 percent of the timberland in Rowan County contains saw timber size trees.
• Presently there are 315 people directly employed in 12 forest products industries not including logging companies. There are 51 Master Loggers in Rowan County.
More than 9,400,000 board feet of logs were produced in 2003 with an approximate value to landowners of $1,391,000. The elimination of wildland fires could double those figures.
Causes of forest fires:
• Arson fires account for 49 percent of the wildland fires, which occurred in Rowan County in the past six years. In 2005, arson fires accounted for four out of every 10 wildland fires in Rowan County.
• Arson- caused wildland fires account for 62 percent of the acres burned in Rowan County in the past six years. Arson fires are most often set in isolated areas and are more difficult to control.
Fire Officials Trying To Reduce Forest Fire Risk
Fire Officials Trying To Reduce Forest Fire Risk
Reporter: David Patrick
The woodlands of Eastern Kentucky are among the most beautiful in the country, but state forestry officials are saying they could also be the most dangerous.
It's one of the most beautiful areas in all of Eastern Kentucky, but during fire season, Lake Lewman Road is also among the most dangerous. That's why firefighters in Rowan County have been in the woods over recent days clearing brush and leaves from roadsides and houses trying to reduce the risk of forest fires before they can start.
"We're trying to reduce fuel loading along the roadways where a fire engine would have to travel. It's important we don't have anything to entrap engines or endanger firefighters," said Danny Blevins with the Route 377 Fire Department.
Not only are firefighters cleaning up, but they're also educating, talking to folks in high risk areas about what they can do to protect themselves and their property.
The Route 377, Hayes Crossing, and Farmers Fire Department received a $16,000 grant for education and cleanup through the FireWise Council. Blevins says it's money well spent.
Rowan County has more than 130,000 acres of forest land, which is 73 percent of the entire county. In the past six years, there have been 72 wildfires in and around Morehead.